Schwarzenegger urged to sign homeowner protection bill

Chris Rizo Oct. 2, 2009, 3:00pm

Arnold Schwarzenegger (R)

Pedro Nava (D)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline)-Pedro Nava, the California legislator who is running for state attorney general, is urging Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign his bill that would protect struggling homeowners from predatory firms.

Nava, a Democrat who represents Santa Barbara in the state Assembly, says debt modification counselors often promise consumers they can help lower their monthly mortgages but actually do little besides collect fees.

Assembly Bill 764 would bar debt modification counselors from collecting money from consumers until after a client's mortgage is modified and the monthly payments are reduced.

If signed by the Republican governor, scofflaws could face civil penalties of up to $20,000 for an individual and $60,000 for a corporation, plus f up to one year in jail. The legislation is the Homeowner Fraud Prevention Act.

"We are asking the governor to immediately sign my legislation in order to prevent further harm to California families that face a barrage of solicitations making promises to modify their home loans while collecting advance fees for little or no result," Nava said in a statement.

The governor has until Oct. 12 to either sign or veto the bill, which received wide bipartisan support in the Democrat-led state Legisalture.

Nava, chairman of the Assembly Banking and Finance Committee, is among a handful of Democrats seeking to succeed Attorney General Jerry Brown as the state's chief law enforcement officer.

Brown is currently considering a run for the 2010 Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

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